Thunder and Blazers Deal With Health Issues as Series Begins

NBA Playoff Series Previews Trail Blazers vs. Thunder

NBA Playoff Series Previews Trail Blazers vs. Thunder

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) looks for a call from an official in the third quarter of game one of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Detroit Pistons at Fiserv Forum.

Westbrook netted a triple-double in the finish with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, while George dropped 26 points, 10 rebounds and four steals in the 104-99 loss. "... It was so frustrating because I just wanted to go out there and win".

Several days later, the Trail Blazers signed Kanter to help with their playoff push.

Oklahoma City couldn't get closer and Lillard hit a 30-footer to extend the Blazers' lead to 89-81 with 6:38 left. Adams led the way with 13 points in the first half, Westbrook added 10-8-7, and the Thunder were within striking distance despite George's 9 points on 3-of-14 from the field.

Oklahoma City got within 93-92 on George's 3-pointer, but Lillard answered with another long 3 to keep the Blazers ahead. This one could really go either way, so while I'm tempted to take the Thunder, I got this series going to seven games, so I'm taking the Trailblazers to secure home-court advantage with another narrow win and cover here behind another big game from Lillard. Oklahoma City still boasts one of the better defensive teams in basketball, ranking fourth in the league in defensive efficiency. He also recorded a game-high plus/minus of +15.

"Four days ago I couldn't even lift my shoulder", he said.

The Blazers' hopes for post-season success were dealt a blow last month when center Jusuf Nurkic (averaging15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds) was lost for the season with a broken left leg. You could nearly feel Thunder coach Billy Donovan - who had once famously mouthed the words "Can't play Kanter" in a playoff game against the Houston Rockets - grinning on the visiting bench.

He was backed by C.J. McCollum, who added 24 points from nine-of-24 shooting with six rebounds and three assists. They'll come out with more of a sense of urgency in Game 2 to avoid falling behind by two games. With the Blazers clinging to a four-point lead and desperate for a bucket, Kanter rumbled from the perimeter with the shot clock trickling down and finished a did-that-just-happen left-handed scoop shot, pushing the Blazers' lead to 100-94 with 11.4 seconds left.

"He gave us a lot of toughness inside", Stotts said.

The Oklahoma City Thunder look to level the series against the Portland Trailblazers at the Moda Center in Game 2 on Tuesday.

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